Have you ever got into a taxi - anywhere in the world - and you were sure that the driver was going slow on purpose to try and milk a few extra coins out of you?
It happens sometimes, but my very good friend Doug is a hack (a taxi driver now working alongside Uber in Toronto and a fellow writer) and I can tell you that there are people out there who will treat you fairly and honestly and will get you to the place on time - and safely without having to break any land speed records in the process.
The same is true in Japan.
The drivers there can be insane buggers who will break every known driving law to speedily get you to your destination, but despite getting into many cab in many a country I will say that without a doubt - car to car - Japanese taxis at least the ones I took were always spotlessly clean.
The cars there - and I'm talking 20 years ago, had automatic car door openers for you when you got in and had to get out. The fact that the door could also be automatically closed was a bonus.
As well, taxi drivers in japan all wore ultra white and clean gloves - which not only kept things clean for the next shift driver, but also shows the customer/fare that they put on white kid gloves to transport you…
Now lest you think that the driver never leaves the sanctity of his driver's seat, when they spot you with luggage, they hop out of the car and that automatic trunk opener goes to work as they lift your luggage in and out as required. White gloves very evidently at work.
The other thing that is cool about taxi rides in Japan is that that the driver does not expect or want a tip. There is no tipping for personal services in Japan.
You pay for a ride or a meal - and that's it.
Now, having placed the Japanese taxi driver up upon an ivory pedestal - just what the heck could I say next that would make it seem even better?
Well… as mentioned, some Japanese cab drivers can drive excessively quick, brake heavily, weave in and out of traffic and can sometimes provide the rider with a ride that can be quite hairy - it's probably a good thing I was hammered out of my gourd and horny with whatever woman I was with whenever I got into a cab in Japan - invariably in Tokyo or Osaka - the two big cities.
So… imagine my surprise when I learned about a Japanese taxi service that relishes in its leisurely pace in such a matter that it dares call itself tah-toe ta-ku-she.
Okay, that's the Japanese katakana phonetic pronunciation for Turtle Taxi, a Japanese taxi service that with a big green turtle logo on it actually has a button in the back seat area that a rider can press informing the driver to slow down.
Again, I'm not saying the Turtle Taxi drivers are driving too fast, but rather the 'turtle slow' button can be pushed if the rider really does wan to take their time before arriving at their destination.
Being a man and a man who has, in the past, driven excessively quick (though no swerving in and out of traffic - ever!), I have no idea why anyone would want to take a slow ride.
I like to get where I'm going so I can hate where I'm at.
But according to a wonderful article by writer Laura Secorun Palet in the on-line magazine OZY, a mother traveling with a sleeping child may not want a taxi ride to flush with sudden stops and starts - and neither would someone attempting to apply make-up to their unnaturally pale facial areas (I'm an ardent supporter of make-up minimalism - I don't want to be in the boudoir licking someone's face and tasting 'foundation').
For Turtle Taxi, the company likes that they can save fuel by driving slower.
Anyhow, read the OZY article: Turtle Taxi: Bye-Bye, Fast Lane: HERE
My only critique is the use of a comma in the headline… not a fan of stuff like that in a headline. The colon is fine. Always have your colon checked regularly.
If you are looking for a taxi in Japan, why not try Turtle Taxi. Website HERE.